Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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CCCBR Meeting Report

Do you ever wonder what goes on in a Central Council Annual meeting? I hope this short account will help and I'll come back to this question later.

This year it was the turn of the Guildford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers to host the annual meeting and a very good job they made of it too. The main business meeting on Bank Holiday Monday May 27th 2013 took place in Guildford's United Reform Church, which contrasted with the last two meetings I've attended that took place in large conference type hotels.

On the day, Guildford was blessed with brilliant hot sunshine, which heated up the modern church building quite considerably during the afternoon. In fact it reminded me of the last time I was in the URC as a 15 year old playing in the brass band for the BBC Songs of Praise programme. This was also on a blazing hot summer day.

Over the three years I've been going to the meetings, I've began to realise what a very small world it can be in the Central Council. You're constantly meeting ringers at the CC who you've seen before in different settings. This can be quite a challenge to those like me who are just moderately average in remembering names. We always get over this at the meeting by wearing name badges carefully recycled from previous meetings.

As to the meeting itself, the main business of the day is to receive reports back from the 16 committees comprising the Council and where required elect/appoint new members to the committees. Reports varied in length and were pre-published in The Ringing World Central Council Supplement (26 April 2013). The assembled 200 or so representatives attending were able to question the various committee chairs. If ever you contemplate becoming Central Council President please be aware that the most relevant skill you must have is the ability to time manage and control a meeting. Fortunately our current President does have this skill and the meeting finished at a reasonable time in the afternoon and didn't go on into the evening, which I believe has happened in the past.

With so many committees I suppose it's inevitable that overlap does from time to time occur. This year I picked up that the Education Committee and the Ringing Centres Committee are focusing on some similar issues of training new and existing ringers. After some initial defence of each approach peace did seem to break out with an agreement to keep in touch and make sure no unnecessary duplication occurred.

An item of interest to many was the decision to run another Ringing Roadshow next year. This will be held at Newbury Racecourse again, on September 6th 2014.

The extract below is from the monthly blog of Kate Flavell, the Central Council President relating to regional outreach meetings that you will be seeing in the future.

There was quite a long discussion at the Council meeting of the Future of Ringing Project. Following work by the Recruitment and Training Forum, proposals were discussed concerning an immediate need for outreach to ringers across the country and to this end moves are afoot for regional meetings. These meetings are aimed at grass roots ringers and will fulfil several purposes, particularly to listen to expectations and needs at local level. It is also intended to improve awareness of what the Integrated Teacher Training Scheme involves, what the Council provides in the way of services already and to engage local support both personal and financial. The Council is seeking to arrange a good geographical spread with the help of local associations and details will be made known as soon as possible.

So concern with the future of bellringing, curiosity over what the CC looks like and does and a wish to represent local ringers for a three year term are all things that may make you an ideal candidate to replace me at the end of my three year term. Just before the next CC meeting in 2014 I shall be stepping down as one of the two Four Shires Guild's CC reps and this will give someone else the opportunity to attend the next meeting of CC scheduled for Maidstone in Kent in 2014. Please make contact with me (or Chris Povey, who's the other FSG Central Council rep) if you need more details and be aware that this will be an item at our forthcoming AGM.

Keith Murphy - FSG CCCBR Representative